I was pulled on to the project because it was in trouble. They wanted me specifically because of my expertise with PRINCE2Â®. Though when I tried to use this knowledge and experience, I was rebuffed. In fact, the mere mention of PRINCE2Â® or any official-sounding language put people off.
The beauty of PRINCE2Â® is its scalability and its focus on tailoring to suit the environment. In fact, if you are using PRINCE2Â® as it says to in the official PRINCE2Â® manual, you are doing it wrong! You need to tailor your approach to meet the needs of the organisation and the project.
My first step was to use language that the team was familiar with. For example, I did not utter the term âPIDâ once, since their existing term Project Charter was sufficient and familiar and actually ended up covering more project information than the standard PID.
It wasnât just the team that needed a bit of tailoring to shelter them from the overwhelming processes or language that comes with a formal project management methodology. The Project Board also was âtoo busyâ to want to understand their role in the project. They just wanted me to âget on with itâ. Not fully understanding that a Project Manager needs the Project Board in order to âget on with itâ.
So about halfway through âgetting on with itâ on my project, I asked the Project Board if we could have an in-person meeting since it had been some time since weâd all met together. I had been sending regular progress reports, of course, but had received no feedback. Itâs hard for a Project Manager to run a project with no guidance and no contact with the Project Board who are supposedly accountable for the project.
They had many excuses for their lack of availability, possibly some were legitimate. Not to bash Project Board members, but many of them donât have any project management training or experience. They donât fully comprehend the need for breaking a project into stages or understand why they need to conduct an assessment before deciding to continue on to the next stage.
I, however, needed more. So I asked. And we met. I was astonished when they agreed. Even more so that they were all available on the same day at the same time.
Although it was a board meeting, I chaired it. I came prepared with my best game. Most of them came straight from other meetings. I was the only one in attendance who knew it was an âend stage assessmentâ meeting. And to be honest, it didnât really matter. I got what I needed and the Project Board performed their role superbly, even if they didnât know they were doing it.
I opened up with a general recap of the project to set the scene. Some of the board members had not attended any project meetings that I knew of since the beginning of the project. I explained where we were in the project – what had happened so far and what we were about to do next.
We then went over some of the major problems and changes that had been made to-date and what problems we were anticipating in the future. I reviewed the money spent and our latest predictions for the rest of the project. We revisited the reasons behind doing the project and weighed those up with the effort we still needed to do to complete it.
All in all, the meeting went well. I got loads of feedback, comments, advice, recommendations and even a âthatâs sounds great!â.
At the end of the meeting, I asked that if the board were satisfied with the information provided that they could give me a verbal confirmation to keep going with the project. As suspected, their response was yes, as the project was healthy and still made business sense. It was just nice to get the confirmation.
As they were leaving, one of the board members commented to another that he wished all the Project Managers would hold these types of meetings â it had really helped him re-connect with the project and to re-commit to it.
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